Rows of fruits in a store



If this is your FIRST online course, please take the online course readiness and orientation.  The short lessons are broken down into (1) learning to use the Moodle Course Management Software and (2) learning how to get help with the online environment, such as how to borrow a computer in an emergency.  There are also several in-person orientations available the first two weeks of the semester from the Gavilan College Library.

There are a few things to be aware of when taking this online course.

Be sure to ALLOW POP-UPs from this site.  You can press the CTRL key at the same time as you click any link (blue underlined words) and that should allow the pop-up for that time.  You can also instruct your pop-up blocker to ALWAYS allow pop-ups from this site.

All the content that is covered in a traditional on-site course will  be covered in this course.

You DO NOT have to be at your own computer to participate in class or the forums.  Any internet accessed computer will do, for instance:  the public library, the Gavilan library, and any friend's computer.

The convenience of the internet allows you to work on and complete your assignments any time of night or day.  However it takes self-dicipline to avoid falling behind.

Essential to your success is keeping up with the weekly reading and assignments including contributing to the forums.

Even though the class meets entirely online, there will be weekly due dates for completed assignments, contributions to forums, web activities, and quizzes.  This means that all students need to be working on the same material each week throughout the semester. For most of the topics you will have only one week to complete the readings, assignments and forums. 

Students have said of online courses that they take more time or are more work than their face-to-face cousins.  This may be true.  You have traded the convenience of the on line environment for the ease of classroom participation.


Participation   Since this is not a f2f class where I can evaluate your interest in the course by your attendance, I have only the student activity logs to determine your investment in this class.  If there is no required class activity or message/email from you for 7 days, I have to assume that you are no longer interested in this course and you will be dropped.

Power Point Presentations (PPTs), Forums, Assignments, and Quiz links will become active at 12:05 AM Wednesdays and close at 11:55 PM on the designated Tuesdays according to the class schedule.

QUIZZES (10% of grade) are all untimed OPEN-BOOK exercises.  You will be allowed unlimited attempts and there are no time restrictions other that the close time and date.  The "close time" is the time that the quiz MUST BE COMPLETED. Because of the learning rather than evaluative nature of the QUIZZES, there will be no extensions of a QUIZ close time. If you do miss a QUIZ, there are practice quetions at the publisher's web site to assess your learning.

MIDTERM (10% of grade) are both TIMED-TESTS.  You will have about 55 sec. - 1 minute/question for multiple choice questions  All exams are also OPEN-BOOK exercises and you will have two chances to take the exams.  The close time is the time that you must be finished for both attempts.  Be sure to plan enough time for yourself to complete the exams before the test closes. If you anticipate being out of computer range for any QUIZ, MIDTERM or FINAL, you can make prior arrangements with me to take the exam at a prearranged time.

FINAL (10% of grade) , are both TIMED-TESTS.  You will have about 55 sec. - 1 minute/question for multiple choice questions  All exams are also OPEN-BOOK exercises and you will have two chances to take the exams.  The close time is the time that you must be finished for both attempts.  Be sure to plan enough time for yourself to complete the exams before the test closes.

FORUMS (20% of grade) provide the participatory element and contributing in writing always takes more time than oral discourse.  Forums are a required element and not completing a forum will result in a seriously diminished grade for the course.    Be sure to make your initial posting to the forum by Saturday at 11:55 PM to allow others to respond during Sunday- Tuesday by 11:55 PM.  Because Forums are timely and topical, they cannot be made up or done at a later time.  If you miss a Forum, you can still read your class mate's responses to get the information you missed by not completing the Forum yourself.  Doing them late will not yield points.

FORUMS are graded in the following manner:

Initial Posting = up to 5 points.The initial posting (due by Saturday 11:55 PM) consists of a paragraph or two about the item up for debate.  You are to critically analyze the argument, research the topic, then respond as instructed in the forum instructions. Avoid vague or fuzzy terms.  Maximum points are given for cited works. These are the easy points to get each week.  1 point will is deducted for not initially posting by Sunday night at the latest.

Response = up to 5 points. These points are harder to get.  These are due by Tuesday by 11:55 PM. 

Follow-up posting = up to 5 points.  You may gain more points by follow up posting. In other words, the more times you post to a FORUM, the more points you will receive provided what you write is of substance. Students will be awarded the extra credit gained by posting more replies than required each week ONLY as long as they have attempted to post to all of the required FORUMS. 


Here is the grading rubric for responses:

     0    Points if all you write is something of the sort of "I agree" or "You are right".

     1-3 Points if you only write some affirmative or negative argument about the general content of the initial posting. Also, if you consistently write a comment followed by, "Do you agree with me?", or "What do you think?".  If you consistently fall into this category in your responses (and assuming you get the maximum of 5 points for the initial posting), the maximum credit you can get for the forums would be approximately 60-70% on average.

     4-5 Points if you write an affirming or negative argument that also includes ***thought provoking questions*** about a point made in the initial posting.  "What do you think?" does not fall into the thoughtful question category, by the way.  Try to draw out your classmates, make suggestions, ask them to clarify vague terms.  Ask for examples to help them clarify their ideas.  Always be polite and respectful.  Please read the guidelines for asking questions and the rules for netiquette below.


***Asking Excellent Thought Provoking Questions***

A good way to help your class mates think about a subject is to ask them a question about it. Being asked a good question can really help us put information together, evaluate our existing ideas and create new ideas.

Asking questions that are specifically intended to help others learn is known as Socratic questioning, named after Socrates in Ancient Greece.

Socratic questions require you to listen (read, in this case) very carefully to the other person to help you judge and phrase your question in a helpful, constructive, and hopefully non-confrontational way.

Here are some examples of such questions:

Questions of clarification

  • What do you mean when you say ______?
  • What is your main point?
  • How does _____ relate to _____?
  • Could you put that another way?
  • Let me see if I understand you; do you mean _____ or _____?
  • How does this relate to our problem/discussion/issue?
  • Jane, can you summarize in your own words what Richard said? ... Richard, is this what you meant?
  • Could you give me an example?
  • Would _____ be a good example of that?

Questions that probe assumptions

  • What are you assuming here?
  • What is Jenny assuming?
  • What could we assume instead?
  • You seem to be assuming _____. Do I understand you correctly?
  • All of your reasoning depends on the idea that _____. Why have you based your reasoning on _____ instead of _____?
  • You seem to be assuming _____. How do you justify taking that for granted?
  • Is that always the case? Why do you think the assumption holds here?
  • Why would someone make that assumption?

Questions that probe reasons and evidence

  • Could you explain your reasons to us?
  • How does that apply to this case?
  • Is there a reason to doubt that evidence?
  • Who is in a position to know that is true?
  • What would you say to someone who said that ____?
  • Can someone else give evidence to support that view?
  • By what reasoning did you come to that conclusion?
  • How could we find out if that is true?

Questions about viewpoints or perspectives

  • What are you implying by that?
  • When you say _____, are you implying _____?
  • But, if that happened, what else would happen as a result? Why?
  • What effect would that have?
  • Would that necessarily happen or only possibly/probably happen?
  • What is an alternative?
  • If _____ and _____ are the case, then what might also be true?
  • If we say that ____ is ethical, how about _____?

Questions that probe implications and consequences

  • How can we find out?
  • What does this question assume?
  • Would _____ ask this question differently?
  • How could someone settle this question?
  • Can we break this question down at all?
  • Is this question clear? Do we understand it?
  • Is this question easy or hard to answer? Why?
  • Do we all agree that this is the question?
  • To answer this question, what other questions must we answer first?
  • How would _____ state the issue?
  • Why is this issue important?
  • Is this the most important question, or is there an underlying question?
  • Can you see how this might relate to ________?
Questions adapted from Paul, R. (1993). Critical Thinking: How To Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World: Foundation for Critical Thinking, Santa Rosa, CA.

GRADEBOOK AND FORUMS:  FORUMS are recorded as averages in the class site GRADEBOOK.  I do not use this method of reckoning your grade.  I total all the points you get for the FORUMS throughout the semester.  For instance, if there are 6 FORUMS, the maximum number of possible FORUM points is 60 points because each total FORUM is worth 10 points.  Five for the initial posting and 5 points for the follow up posting.  However, you can get more points by responding more than once in reply.  This is to encourage you to debate the issues and/or reply to a question posted specifically to a particular point you had made in an initial posing.  This yields very worthwhile extra credit points for you.  Remember:  FORUM points are worth two times the value of a QUIZ  point. 

There is a peculiarity in the GRADEBOOK that causes a problem in viewing your ACTUAL total grade.  Because I allow multiple responses as a means to get extra credit, I have to set the point base for each forum at a ridiculous 100 points.  Some students have posted so many times to a post to have accumulated 80 points extra credit.  What this does is make the percent grade for FORUMS to be off considerably thus, skewing your total class grade.  I correct for this at the end of the semester of course but, it does make it difficult to know what your grade is in the mean time.  I send you a very detailed midterm grade report to allow you to know how you are doing at that point.

So, by all means, IGNORE the GRADEBOOK total of your points.  It will freak you out as you approach the end of the semester and see you have only  5 points in your FORUM score.                           

ASSIGNMENTS (30% of grade)  There are no OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENTS.  Each must be submitted.  Failure to submit any ASSIGNMENT results in your not qualifying for the EXTRA CREDIT. There is about one ASSIGNMENT per week. Your assignments carry the most weight in this class.  ASSIGNMENTS posted after Tuesday at 11:55 PM. are considered late and will receive 1/2 credit.  Late assignments that have a due date prior to the midterm must be turned in for grading prior to the opening of the MIDTERM. Those with a due date after 4/12 still must be completed but will receive a zero.  In addition, extra credit will not be granted.  .Speaking of EXTRA CREDIT...There is ample extra credit available to those who have completed all the FORUMS AND ASSIGNMENTS.  A student can raise their grade at least one full grade provided all the work is completed.  EXTRA CREDIT is never a substitute for required class work.

You will be required to search for quality academic information on the internet. I STRONGLY encourage you to read the material at this link EVALUATING INTERNET SOURCES before you begin this course.  You will be asked frequently to evaluate the information on the Web.

HEALTH BEHAVIOR CHANGE MINI-PROJECT  (20% of gradePrint the instructions for this project and do not be put off by its seeming complexity.  It is really an easy project.  Read it thoroughly, including the system for awarded points before beginning.  Most students have said it is much easier than they first expected.


Problem Reporting

    Dog urinating on laptop

Always expect the unexpected with your computer. Stuff happens.  Have a back-up buddy, internet cafe, public library available in case of personal computer disaster.  Computer issues (other than Moodle) are not an excuse for late assignments, failing to take tests, or participating in forums.  There are times when the Moodle server crashes or is offline and you will be denied access.  Here is the procedure to follow should you encounter this: ASSIGNMENTS may be submitted prior to the due date by email if you have an issue with your computer.

Please print this and keep it with your computer. You MUST report problems and error messages immediately to me by email or by MESSAGES on the right column of your class site. You MUST also report ANY problem with MOODLE. Immediately Contact with the information requested below.

1. Your login ID

2. Is your computer a PC or Mac?

3. What operating system and version are you using, i.e. OS X 10.4.9, Windows XP SP 2, Windows Vista Home Basic, etc.

4. What browser were you using? The version? i.e. Firefox 2.0, Internet Explorer 7.0, Safari 2.0, etc.

5. What is your connection? Campus LAN, Campus Wireless LAN, DSL at home, modem at home, etc.

6. What SPECIFIC course were you trying to access?

7. The URL of the page you were trying to access, or its description (Copy-and-Paste it from the Address bar if at all possible)

8. What SPECIFIC error message did you receive? (Copy-and-Paste it if at all possible)

9. The date and time the error occurred.

Trouble-shooting is hard, verging on impossible if people just say, "Something bad happened." With specific details, we can try to figure out exactly what, and fix it.

Error messages and problems with Moodle must be reported to both places and verified to be eligible for increased time for assignments or test do overs.  Immediate notification is required.  If you have a problem with an assignment link, or uploading or any problem, LET ME KNOW IMMEDIATELY. I can then verify and correct the error. You are far more likely to get an extension if I have been emailed about the problem.

A word from the "not-so-wise", be sure to always scroll to the bottom of each page that you view in this course or you may miss an important web link or instruction.  I often fail to do this myself .


Your Professor

Now a word about me and my role in this course.  First, I am a teacher, an imparter of facts, concepts, ideas and unraveler of difficult details: sort of the "sage on a stage".  However, my most important role is that of a facilitator of your learning: the "guide by your side." I am here to smooth the bumps in the road rather than place barriers to your educational process.  While it would be really cool to be available to you 24/7--not going to happen. I will be lurking online for a few hours most weekdays.  I will try my best to get an answer to your questions within 48 hours.  Most times it will be faster.  I can make no guarantee about weekend lurking.  The Moodle site will let you know if I am lurking and working.

There will be a forum available for asking procedural questions about the course.  If you do have a technical question about the web site or online environment, please contact DistEd in the distance education office as they are our site administrators.


Netiquette is important when communicating online.  Researchers have shown that most of communication is non-verbal. Gestures and facial expressions are not visible in this environment. This makes misunderstandings inevitable.  Expect to be misunderstood and try your best to be clear and concise in your discussions.  Especially be cautious when responding to someone with whom you disagree.  Be respectful.  Avoid using CAPS as that is a form of online shouting and is generally considered rude.  Fortunately "smiley-faces" are available to help you indicate your meaning.  Please check out the netiquette site listed below.

Master the Basics of Netiquette